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Cascade and Columbia Torrent Salamanders May Get Endangered Species Act protection

September 18, 2015



The Cascade torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton cascadae) and the Columbia torrent salamander  (Rhyacotriton kezeri) may qualify for Endangered Species Act protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced yesterday after conducting a 90-day finding on the amphibians, which required the service to determine if it had enough information to further study if the salamanders should be protected. 

Cascade torrent salamander

steve wagner

Cascade torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton cascadae). This species is suffering due to the effects of logging, the CBD says.

The Center for Biological Diversity and more than 200 scientists petitioned the USFWS in 2012 to determine if the salamanders should be listed as endangered. The next step is for the USFWS to conduct a full status review of the species. The full status review will determine if the species will be listed as endangered.

Both the Cascade and the Columbia torrent salamanders are about 4-inches in total length and are brown in coloration with bulbous eyes and yellow bellies. They are often found in cold, slow-moving streams and are intolerant toward dry conditions due not their reduced lung capacity. They are suffering from loss of habitat due to logging. The Cascade torrent salamander is found on the west slope of the Cascade Mountains in Washington and central Oregon. The Columiba torrent salamander is found northwestern Oregon and southwestern Washington’s coastal regions. 

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